For State of Union, Obama Faces GOP Congress for First Time

17 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

For State of Union, Obama Faces GOP Congress for First Time.

For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama will stand before a Republican-led Congress to deliver his State of the Union address and try to convince lawmakers newly empowered to block his agenda that they should instead join with him on education, cyberprotection and national security proposals. With Obama firmly in the legacy-building phase, his address is expected to be as much about selling a story of U.S. economic revival as it is about outlining initiatives.

The president is well known for his delivery of lengthy speeches and detailed explanations, and his aides have tried – unsuccessfully – to rein him in at times. Ana Zamora, a student at Northwood University, will be sitting in first lady Michelle Obama’s box as the president delivers his annual address to Congress, according to White House aides. The approach reflects the White House’s belief that it has been too cautious in promoting economic gains out of fear of looking tone deaf to the continued struggles of many Americans. In 2012, she received work authorization and protection from deportation under the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “As with any other dreamer, my parents came to this country with a dream of a better future for their children,” she wrote Obama in September. “The United States is my country. His ability to break down complex social and political issues so his audience of more than 2.5 million subscribers can understand them, has apparently earned him a spot in front of the President.

Johnson in 1965 and then assigned a percentage to how many of those ideas were achieved – fully or partially – through legislation in that same year. (Unfortunately, they took a break during George W. It is where I grew up, took my first steps, learned to read, write, play, graduated from high school, and will graduate from college.” “Ana’s life has fundamentally changed for the better as a result of DACA. Bush’s second term, so they don’t have data from 2005-2008, but they tell us they plan to go back and crunch the numbers this year.) As would be expected, Obama’s policy success rate dropped significantly after the Republicans took over the House in 2011.

Obama will call on Republicans to find common ground with Democrats to advance his economic proposals on housing, education and workforce flexibility. Mindful of Obama’s fading share of the spotlight, the White House has tried to build momentum for his address by rolling out, in advance, many of the proposals he will discuss. Among them: making community college free for many students; ensuring paid sick leave for many workers; cutting the cost of mortgage insurance premiums for some home buyers; pressing for cybersecurity legislation in the wake of the hacking on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which the U.S. has blamed on North Korea.

Obama in the role of mediator in the coming year between a resurgent GOP looking to advance its agenda and members of his own party trying to maximize their minority status to block Republican policy plans. Buoyed by their new majority, Republicans are moving forward on bills to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, change Obama’s health care law and dismantle his executive orders on immigration.

Obama’s address will provide a road map for how the president intends to navigate the new political order in Washington as he tries to make progress on a legislative agenda with the last Congress he will work with before leaving office. Republicans say that’s a sign of a president who didn’t get the message from voters trying to relegate his party to minority status in the November election. New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the president still has a chance to change his tone. “Tuesday can be a new day,” McConnell said. “This can be the moment the president pivots to a positive posture, this can be a day when he promotes serious realistic reforms that focus on economic growth and don’t just spend more money we don’t have. In 2013, the year Congress did basically nothing Obama wanted, the passage of a Violence Against Women Act expansion was one of the few things he asked for that actually got done. “Without compromise, not much really happens in Washington,” Howard said. “Obama has been a lot more active if you count executive action, but legislation is a more lasting legacy.” But beyond an unwillingness to compromise, the results also have a lot to do with what you ask for and how, Hoffman said.

Aides pick 10 for Obama to read each night and hers was among them. “In her letter,” Muñoz says, “Ana explained to the President that thanks to [DACA]… her life got better. He is likely to urge lawmakers to stop the pursuit of new penalties against Iran while the U.S. and others are in the midst of nuclear negotiations with Tehran. In a news conference Friday, Obama said legislation threatening additional penalties could upend the delicate diplomacy. “Congress should be aware that if this diplomatic solution fails, then the risks and likelihood that this ends up being at some point a military confrontation is heightened — and Congress will have to own that as well,” he said. And I’ll call on this new Congress to join me in putting aside the political games and finding areas where we agree so we can deliver for the American people.”

Obama spent recent weeks detailing proposals he plans to make in the speech, including a plan for spending $60 billion over 10 years to ensure cost-free access to community college for many students, a reduction in annual mortgage-insurance premiums to 0.85% from 1.35% for certain borrowers and executive action providing federal workers with at least six weeks of paid leave for a new child. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) said Republicans prefer proposals that would allow private-sector workers the option of using overtime as paid time off, rather than drawing extra pay, but which wouldn’t require companies to offer paid leave. “I am committed to policies that are going to empower families and women…rather than more mandates and requirements from Washington, D.C.,” she said.

In the House, more committees are adopting rules increasing the number of GOP chairmen empowered to issue subpoenas without holding a committee vote first. Obama’s immigration policy sheltering millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, and they are strategizing over how to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. One compromise he supports that is designed to draw Democratic votes is taking revenue generated from overhauling tax laws and investing it in infrastructure, a senior administration official said. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) said Democrats are hesitant to expedite passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact under negotiation with the Asia-Pacific region, without gaining more clarity over its contents. “To give fast-track authority without us really knowing what’s in it is giving up our responsibility as members of Congress,” Mr. Pocan said. “We are afraid, based on past trade deals, where we’ve had more jobs go overseas,” that this trade agreement and others could “very negatively affect American workers,” he said.

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